Reading report, March 6, 2017
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I had to take two sick days in the middle of the week and missed my day hike on the weekend because I didn't want to risk having a relapse, so I had plenty of time to read and finished four books during those two days and one more during the weekend. I was still heartily glad to stop reading and return to work on Friday. Being at home on weekdays is no fun when you can't go out and are feeling miserable.
The books were:
Johannes Cabal the Necromancer by Jonathan L Howard. This book answered a question I asked myself when I first read Ray Bradbury's Something Wicked This Way Comes: Where do diabolical carnivals come from in the first place? I liked it so much that I ordered a copy of the second book in the series and hope it will arrive some time this week.
The protagonist is the titular Johannes, a scientist who wishes to find a cure for death and has sold his soul to Satan to that end. But it isn't working out the way he expected and so he goes down to Hell and makes a bet with Satan: he will get his soul back if he collects 100 souls for Hell in one year. In order to help (or hinder) him in doing so, Satan gives him a diabolical carnival to run.
Gnomes by Wil Huygen (text) and Rien Poortvliet (illustrations). Wonderful piece of fantastical natural history, translated from Dutch. I filed it next to my copy of Peter Dickinson's The Flight of Dragons, in the book-case where I keep my books on religion, folk-tales and mythology.
This books seems to be a mixture of actual gnome lore and speculative descriptions of the lives and living conditions of gnomes. It is beautifully illustrated and fluidly translated from the original Dutch.
A volume of short stories from two different collections by Swedish author Torgny Lindgren, titled Fimm fingra mandlan in Icelandic, in English The Five-Fingerd Almond, and drawing its title from an unnamed short story in the book which features an almond potato that looks like a human hand and becomes the means of unmasking a murderer. Not keeping it.
I found Style Deficit Disorder by Tiffany Godoy in amongst my cookbooks, where it had been languishing for a couple of years with a bookmark sticking out of it. So I decided to finish it. It's about the Japanese Harajuku fashion scene and contains colourful photographs, potted history and descriptions of the style and influences of various designers. It's nice, if a bit chaotic, to look at, like a book-length teen fashion magazine on acid, but terribly designed with regard to actually being read. Some of the spreads are printed, for example, in black lettering on eye-watering bright blue backgrounds, and the lettering used in the headers is designed for looks rather than reading. I don't expect many people would even consider reading it from cover to cover - this is a product to be leafed through, displayed on a coffee-table and perhaps used to look up one's favourite designers. I don't think I'll keep this one. Owning one book about Japanese fashion is enough for me (Shoichi Aoki's Fruits).
On the weekend I read:
Safari for Seven by Thea B. Von Halsema. This is the travelogue of an American family of seven who bought a Volkswagen Transporter in The Netherlands in the 1960s and drove it to Israel and back. It was quite an adventure and I closed the book with a considerably wider knowledge of biblical geography than when I started, as the family were religious and planned their route to take in as many biblical locations as possible. Culling it.
I now have 839 unread books on my TBR (owned) list.
Next weekend I am planning to go shopping in Ikea to buy a Billy bookcase with an extension, to replace a smaller bookcase that is full to overflowing. First, however, I have to empty the current bookcase and find somewhere to keep the books from it until I can stuff them into the new one...
I'm currently reading:
Watching the English by Kate Fox (anthropology) and Whispers Underground (urban fantasy) by Ben Aaronovitch (the third Peter Grant book).